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International Chocolate Day: why is it celebrated today, 13 September?
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International Chocolate Day: why is it celebrated today, 13 September?

As well as being an almost essential food for some, it can also provide some health benefits, especially dark chocolate

Isabel Méndez

Malaga

Wednesday, 13 September 2023, 15:49

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Those with a sweet tooth will surely have today's date - 13 September - circled on their calendars. This Wednesday is International Chocolate Day, which is celebrated all over the world.

But what is the reason for this event?

It takes place in honour of the British author Roald Dahl, who wrote the popular children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which led to an unforgettable film of the same name starring Johnny Deep.

Milton S. Hershey, the founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, was also born on this date, so the initiative is also supported by the United States.

Origin

Chocolate originated in Mexico. Legend has it that the god Quetzalcoatl gave the cocoa tree as a gift to mankind, which years later was christened Theobroma Cacao, which in Greek means 'food of the gods'.

Cocoa was a staple food in Aztec society and also a currency of exchange. They drank it liquid and with spices, a very dark and thick drink called 'tchocolatl'.

However, the International Cocoa Organisation suggests that the first foreigner to taste cocoa, as prepared by the indigenous people, was Christopher Columbus in 1502, having just arrived in Nicaragua.

When Hernán Cortés returned to Spain from his expeditions, he brought the recipe back with him in 1519. However, the recipe was not initially received with much enthusiasm, so it was modified by adding sugar.

Benefits

Chocolate, as well as being an almost essential food for some, can provide various health benefits, especially dark chocolate, among which the following stand out:

- Improves mood. Contains compounds such as theobromine and phenylethylamine, which can stimulate the release of endorphins, which produce feelings of happiness and well-being.

- Helps reduce stress. Cocoa contains magnesium, a compound that can help reduce stress and anxiety.

- Improves memory and protects the heart. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which can improve cognitive function and memory and also help reduce heart pressure and the risk of heart disease.

- It protects the skin. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which can protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays.

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